Friday, January 31, 2014

Seville's @ Wafi

 Yesterday, I and friend T went to meet up with some former colleagues at Seville's, a Spanish tapas restaurant at the Pyramids, Wafi. I have been there several times before and really enjoy this place. The restaurant itself is not too large and gives an intimite feel, there is also a beautiful al fresco part, party overlooking the pool area and other restaurants close by. Unfortunately, I rarely go all the way to Wafi City as it is a bit far away and it is a pity because Wafi City has a lot to offer, not only shopping but also a with a wide selection of fine restaurants and bars. Dubai is not that big but I tend to get lazy and have my convenient zone (Dubai Marina and the Madinat). I'll try to improve my adventurous side a bit more and discover other parts of the time.
We decided to order two tapas dishes each to share. Soon our table was overflowing of delicious food, excellent mussels cooked in cream and wine sauce, jamon serrano, calamares with garlic dip, tuna and prawns. I was quite hungry after a long day at the office so only managed to capture three of the dishes before I literary threw myself over the food. A bottle of Rioja made the meal complete. After the dinner, we decided to walk over to Carter's for a night cap. The DJ played some great tunes and we stayed for another hour before calling it a night. A long working week takes its toll, we were both tired.
If you are looking for a nice tapas evening with great food in beautiful surrounding, Seville's is the place!

Seville's
Pyramid's @ Wafi City
Oud Metha Road
Tel: 04 324 4777

Jamon serrano

Mussel pot

Crispy, delicious calamari
 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Anatolia Turkish Grill

Yesterday, I and colleague R decided to leave the Jebel Ali Freezone and head to Ibn Battuta Mall for a delicious Turkish lunch. I have been to Anatolia Turkish Grill before and they did not disappoint this time either. While waiting for our order, we enjoyed some freshly baked bread with olive paste and cacik. The cacik, which shares many similarities with the Greek tzatziki, is made of yoghurt, salt, olive oil, garlic, chopped cucumber and mint. We ordered another basket of bread to dip it in the delicious cacik. Friend R also ordered a gavurdagi salati, which is a tomato salad with walnuts and cumin. Our main course, pirzola, was a large plate of lamb chops, grilled tomato and bulgur rice with fresh salad and onion on the side. Needless to say, we were stuffed after but what a beautiful meal. I can truly recommend Anatolia if you are looking for a genuine and very price worthy Turkish meal.

Ibn Battuta Mall
China Gardens
Tel: 04 435 6300


Freshly baked Turkish bread with olive paste and butter

Smooth cacik

Gavurdagi salatasi, salad with

We decided to share a pirzola, lamb chops with grilled tomatoes and bulgur rice


 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Searching again and home work frustrations

I am on the search again, for some clues about my past. Yesterday I submitted my adoption papers to the Social Welfare Society (for the second time) and now hoping to hear from them. Don't get me wrong, the likelihood of getting any news is very slim but it is worth another try. I have also been recommended the 23andme DNA- test where you can trace your ancestors and also find out if you have any relatives. Ok, sounds a bit controversial perhaps, but I am willing to try, merely out of curiosity as I don't expect to find my family but what if? So the test will be sent to hubby's friend in Sweden and he is bringing it over next week when visiting us. I'll do the test, return it and wait! I understand that with these test you need to take it with a (large) grain of salt and I see it as an interesting "experiment".
Yesterday I decided to bake a brownie cake, which I brought into the office today. Elias had a meltdown over his homework, somewhere between the Swedish and the Arabic and the booklet he is making everything went pear shaped. He was crying, I ended up crying trying too as I was explaining to him that I support him, I'm so proud of him but he needs to make some effort too, not just mope around and complain about things and give up before he has even started. I do understand it is a lot for him, Arabic, French and extra lessons in Swedish. Yesterday he asked me how come I learned Swedish so easily and I tried to explain that it is my mother tongue. It should be easy for me but looking at it through his eyes, I can see the frustration with the extra Swedish letters, the not so logical way to pronounce and spell certain words (that I just take for granted). But he is getting there. He is reading a few pages every night in a Swedish book, just to keep it up. And we read Arabic too yesterday and I'm impressed!
Joli and I have our reading routine already established when I read to her from the "Little House on the Prairie" books. I'm not sure if she is very fond of it to be honest but it gives us some quality time in the evening and it puts her to sleep!

My sweet frustrated boy! I love you so much!!


 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Blogger's get together

Sometimes you have these encounters when it feels like you have known each other forever. No awkward moments, no silence, no struggle to find a common topic. Well, I just had that wonderful experience last week when I and Mitzie Mee hosted a blogger's get together at my house. I had already had the pleasure of meeting PinayFlyingHigh at her wonderful charity brunch and Circles in the Sand and I have been neighbours and friends for years but other than that, there were a lot of new faces.
I started blogging many years ago when we moved to Singapore, it was mainly to reach out to friends and family at home and rather than sending out 20 identical emails to each one of them, I found it easier to start a blog. Little did I know that it would bring me such joy and that I would meet up with so many wonderful fellow bloggers.
We started the evening off with gorgeous food, Filipino kare kare and stuffed fish and for desert, leche flan. Mitzie Mee made Danish vandbakkelser (pastries filled with whipped cream and topped with dark chocolate) and Mrs Jack of All Traders brough sago from Malaysia. My contribution was a Swedish brownie cake, you can never go wrong with that. We also enjoyed wonderful risotto, American artichoke dip, Malaysian sweets and cheese and crackers. After a brief introduction, we all engaged in various discussions and managed to cover an impressive amount of  topics.
My blog is by far the smallest amongst these creative spirits, I think I was lost somewhere when html- codes and domains were discussed and must have looked like a gold fish on dry land.
It was also decided that we should establish a blogger's network to help each other out, share tips and ideas. So who are we?

Mitzie Mee

PinayFlyingHigh

Mrs Jack of All Trades

Circles in the Sand

Stuff by Rhey

Lady and her Sweet Escapades

Kenneth Surath

If I start writing about them individually, I know I won't be able to stop so please have a look at their amazing blogs. It is such a wonderful collection of creative and inspirational people!

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Friday rant

Buffet dinner at Latitude, Jumeirah Beach Hotel

Cheburashka, or "Drutten" as we called him/her in Sweden
A few weeks ago when I and Joli went to purchase the "Little House on the Prairie" books at Kinokuniya, I spotted Cheburashka! Cheburashka is a Russian cartoon character and was popular around early 70's and 80's. I remember it from Swedish TV but with the name "Drutten och Jena". Jena is Cheburashkas' Crocodile friend. He is wonderful and sensitive, always there to help cute little Cheburashka who seems to end up in all sorts of trouble. I recall Swedish stores selling"Drutten och Jena" candy. The Russian cartoon is however much more fun and I bought a few movies when I was in Russia many years ago. Of course I couldn't resist this little furry figure so he came home with me. Next time hubby has a flight to Russia, I'll ask him to find some more Cheburashka DVDs. That will also be an excellent opportunity for me to practice my Russian.
This past week has been hectic (what's new). Being away for a few days is great but as I said, it means that you have millions of emails to attend to, tasks piling up on your desk and people chasing you with a torch in the corridor.
I am not sure if you have read about it but on November 24 2013, China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States reached an agreement with Iran on its nuclear programme, the Joint Plan of Action. Part of this plan relies on the implementation of measures to be taken by both sides for a duration of six months and includes partial relief from EU and U.S. Iran sanctions in exchange for a IAEA access to Iran's nuclear plants. This is important news and will definitely have impact on our business so most of yesterday was dedicated to thorough research on how this will affect us as a company in practice. And I'm still not finished. For once I ordered hubby to take Joli to her swimming and also go ahead with the weekly grocery so that I could dedicate the day to some work. The idea was to go to Mirdif City Centre, find a nice café and sit there and combine coffee break with work, however, I found myself roaming around the mall instead and ended up (as usual) at Max Burger. Suddenly I spotted my house doctor, also buying a Max Burger (he is half Swedish) together with his family and I quickly finished off my lunch as I find it a bit awkward to sit near my house doctor in the same small hamburger restaurant. That was however a good thing as I had to leave most of my wonderfully greasy chips behind...
The girls are organizing a SPA- evening again. It has been ages ago we did something like that and I'm looking forward to it. I'm making bruschetta for tonight, topped with mushroom stew. At least that is my plan as of now. Knowing myself, I'll be running down to Choitrams in panic to grab the last piece of Brie cheese they have in the counter. And some salty crackers.
And I forgot to mention, last Sunday, we went out for dinner, the entire Diploma course group. Funnily enough, everyone showed up on time... We went to "Latitude" at Jumeirah Beach Hotel and enjoyed an excellent buffet. The downside was that we had already enjoyed an almost as good buffet for lunch, so there was not that much room left, however, I managed to have two large servings of amazing salmon sashimi before I had to admit myself defeated (by food). After dinner, I and friend V went to the piano bar for a gin tonic to round off the evening.
Our departmental lunch finally took place yesterday, about a month late due to travelling (not me). We had made a reservation at the Italian restaurant "Sicilia" at the Movenpick Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel and they did not disappoint. I decided to go for the parma pizza and it was worth every crumble. I finished the whole thing and didn't have to eat dinner at all last night. My colleagues had chick pea soup as a starter and then pizza and our head of department opted for the veal, which also looked really delicious. We even managed to have a cheeky glass of wine with our meal! I wasn't sure whether my colleagues found it odd if I started to take photos of the food so hence, no photos.
Last Saturday, I hosted a wonderful blog evening, which I will write more about in a separate post. It was such a lovely evening with amazing people, I was on a high for days after! I think I still am!
Ok, off to make bruschetta.

 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Diploma course in ....eating?

My Diploma course in financial crime is coming to an end. We have just finished module 4 and only one left before the final exam in February. I must say that I will miss it, these three days every month when you leave the office and interact with people outside your business area is quite refreshing. I have made great friends already and shared many laughs during sessions and breaks.
The venue had changed from Habtoor Grand to The Westin and Westin never disappoints, even when you are there for a compliance course. We enjoyed coffee breaks with lovely nibbles and a grand lunch buffet every day. The conference room was bright and pleasant, not freezing cold like the previous place where we all sat wrapped in scarves and jackets.
Some things have annoyed me though, for instance people cannot seem to show up on time. And we start at 9, so it's not like they have to get up in the middle of the night. Keeping the coffee breaks and lunch breaks to a certain time limit also seems to be difficult as half of the class is missing when it is time to start again. Some people run in and out (we all have our phones and need to attend to emails and urgent calls) but some do it more frequent than others. Participants start chatting with each other during the session and interrupt the lecturer and someone pulls up his/her lap top in the middle of the session and start working on something else. Disrespectful, is my opinion. If you attend a training session, at least have the decency to arrive on time, try to avoid phone calls and don't interrupt in the middle of the session. The course organizers also leave a lot to wish for. They run in and out, go for coffee and cigarette breaks now and then and do not seem to care much about the course content.
Enough with the rant, all in all I am very happy with the course and feel I have learned a lot.
Tomorrow I'm back in the office again, lots of work to do after these three blissful days.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Salmon stew with cherry tomatoes and root fruits

My cooking project I started over a year ago didnt' last very long. I think I managed to cook two new recipes (one of them was sauce, so not even a proper dish) before work and other matters took over my daily routine and another of my fabulous projects ended before it had even started.
Last Friday however, I had this craving for a nice fish dish and came across an old recipe from a food magazine. It was amazingly easy to prepare and so delicious! I think my son had four servings, which is a great compliment, even the picky Ms. Joli had two servings (mostly salmon and potatoes but still).

Salmon stew for 6 persons

4 carrots
3 parsnips
1 fennel
1 yellow onion
2 garlic cloves
butter
1 liter of water
2 fish stock cubes
fresh thyme
6 potatoes
2 dl of white of wine
3 dl of cream
800 g of salmon fillet
400 g fresh prawns
200 g cherry tomatoes
salt and pepper

Peel and dice the carrots and parsnips to small pieces. Shred the fennel, onion and chop the garlic cloves fine. Fry the vegetables in butter in a wide pan without getting burned. Add the water and crumble the fish stock cubes, add fresh thyme and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Boil the potatoes at the same time in a separate saucepan but do not let them get over boiled. Pour the wine and cream into the pan, add salt and pepper. Cut the salmon in small cubes and put them in the pan together with the fresh prawns and the tomatoes (cut in halves). Finally, add the the boiled potatoes (cut in cubes) and top with fresh thyme. Serve with bread (optional). Bon appetit!

Friday, January 17, 2014

To Paris and back

Last week, hubby had a flight to Paris and I decided to tag along. I haven't been on a trip with hubby (behind the steering wheel that is) since we lived in Sweden and that was a trip to Berlin in a small Dash -8, together with a 10 month old baby that refused to stay in his seat and crawled up and down the aisle during most of the flight. One of the main reasons is because the other side of the standby coin is that you may not get back in time and with a job waiting, that is not a good option (and happened when I went to New York last year and missed two flights). This time however, the standby Gods were merciful and the flight had open seats. I had worked all day and also attended a school meeting in the evening and was way too excited to get some sleep, I think I nodded off for about half an hour before it was time to get up and head out to the airport. Flight left at 3.20 am and I got myself a Starbucks latte to ensure I'd at least stay awake until the boarding had been completed. Needless to say, I took me only one glass of something fizzy before I slept like a baby until breakfast time. We landed in a very gloomy and rainy Paris but regardless of weather, Paris is always Paris. The crew hotel is located close to the airport and hubby and his crew went on their bus and I took the normal route with the hotel shuttle and met them back at the hotel. An hour after check- in, hubby had changed into "civilian" clothes and we were on our way into Paris town. Hubby was tired after flying all night but he bravely walked together with me up and down the narrow streets. We passed by the Louvre, the Opera House, Les Galeriers Lafayette (and we left just as quickly as it was packed with people). The sun came out and we enjoyed coffee and a croque monsieur, a few beers at a charming French bistro and a few more at another charming bistro. In the afternoon, we took the RER back to Charles de Gaulle and the hotel shuttle from there to our hotel. There we relaxed in the bar before dinner and went to bed quite early as hubby was flying back the other day and we were both knackered by that time. The next morning, I left with the hotel shuttle and hubby and his crew were picked up by the airport bus. We met at the airport and after some window shopping, it was time board the plane again and head back to Dubai.
Despite the short time (24 hour stop) it was very nice to get away with hubby, not only to see him in his work environment, but also to be able to enjoy a small get away in the middle of the week. 
Kids didn't seem to have missed us at all. Elias was busy playing some games and Joli had already fallen asleep by the time we got back. Hubby was tired (again) after a whole day of flying and I went to bed early as work awaited me the day after.

Le Louvre

Flying over the Alps






The Emirates award winning service


Tempura and tapas!!!


Lounge nibbles

 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Global Village

Today is a Public Holiday and the office is closed. Hubby and I have talked about buying a new sofa so off we went to IKEA (together with the rest of Dubai I think...). We quickly made our choice, paid, ate four hot dogs and left. The weather has been quite bad lately, cold and rainy so the pool was definitely not an option. As we drove back home, I realized that I hadn't been to Global Village since 2012!  Global Village is a gigantic outdoor theme park with different pavilions, representing various countries. The biggest pavillion by far is India and it is followed by Yemen, Qatar and Pakistan. Inside each pavillions you will find lots of small stands, selling goods specific to that country.
Some things have changed though, before you could enjoy delicious and cheap street food inside the pavilions but that seemed to have stopped. I only saw juice stands and snack vendors, but no food. On the other hand, there are plenty of little kiosks and restaurants outside where one can enjoy local sweets, Turkish baked potato, Persian food etc. I suspect due to the bad weather (heavy rain just as I entered), many of the small cafes were closed. Some pavilions are more "genuine" than the others. I was quite impressed with Afghanistan, that had several stands with antiques, necklaces with lapis lazuli, traditional Afghan dresses and rugs. The Singaporean and Filipino pavilions seem however to mostly consist of fake handbags, pyjamases with cartoon prints and cheap toys from China. The only Asian pavilion that lives up to its name is the Vietnamese, where you can find beautiful lacquer paintings, bowls, trays and jewelry boxes.
I think the concept of Global Village is great, unfortunately it does not always give a true experience of the countries in question and very few vendors seem to actually be from the country the represent. The food stalls were a lot less this year and prices are generally higher for all non- locals as they suspect you are a tourist. However, if you have never been to Global Village, I can definitely recommend it.  The entrance fee is only 15 dirhams and there is free parking just outside. They open from 4 - midnight from October to 1st of March. Since it is an outdoor event, it is closed during the hot summer months.

Entrance to India

Chinese lanterns

Should you need to clean your abaya....






The Syrian pavilion


Indian kurtas and shalwar kameez





I found this in the Spain pavilion, under the sign, European kitchenware



Moon shine to us has a completely different meaning...

 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Assignment no 2

We still haven't seen the results from assignment no 1, which may be a good thing... No news are good news... And assignment no 2 is due on Friday. I have so far managed to scribble down 500 words. I think I know what I'll be doing tonight, and tomorrow night...
The weather is cold and windy so no outdoor tabata exercise for me. I will sign myself up for a spinning class tomorrow, just to make sure I can't bail out.
Lots of work to do, meetings, so it is a busy week. On Thursday we are invited to a friend's house for a BBQ and on Friday I'm meeting up with Russian friend A for dinner at the Madinat.
Well, see you all in a couple of days, when the assignment has been submitted....

Monday, January 6, 2014

Kick start to the new year

Two weeks of holiday bliss is over and we are back to a full working week again. Not only that, I have my deadline for the second assignment coming up very soon.
Everyone seems to be back in the office, which is quite nice as sitting here alone was depressing and sad. Now the corridors are busy again with people running here and there.
The weather has been cold. I seem to forget how cold it actually gets every December (not to compare with any cold weather in Scandinavia of course, but for us, it's cold). I realized how thin my blood has become after nearly 8 years abroad.
School started yesterday which means that the home work routine will begin next week (and that usually involves the entire family...). Elias has a school camp to look forward to in February, two days away from us with the rest of Grade 5, somewhere out in the desert.
I'm afraid there is nothing more inspiring for the moment from my side. I better get on with work and my assignment. Have a great week!

A photo from a small outdoor café in my hometown Kinna. The photo has nothing to do with the rest of the text but I just love it as it reminds me of home...

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2 of January 2014

Unbelievable, it is already 2014. It is a very quiet day at the office, again a soft start after the new year's celebrations as today is Thursday and the last working day of the week.
We celebrated as usual with our friends at the compound and friend S hosted a lovely party with delicious shish kebab, salads, pita snacks and other delicacies. After the dinner we separate in two teams and played charades, which was a huge success with lots of laughter. Before we knew it, it was time to open the champagne bottles and make our traditional walk out to the desert to watch the fire works. I always forget how cold it can get here during new years, we all had jackets and boots and out in the desert, it is even colder. We all cheered and Burj Khalifa exploded in amazing colours as 2013 became 2014. The desert spot outside our compound is perfect for the Burj Khalifa and Global Village fireworks, unfortunately we did not see anything of the world record breaking fireworks at the Palm Island. But I saw it later on TV and wow, it was fantastic!
The evening ended very late and yesterday was a very quiet day. The kids went outside with their friends and hubby spent most time in the couch watching various episodes of "House". Hubby had an early flight to Adelaide later that night so he went off to bed early while I and the kids watched the one of my favourite movies "The Full Monty".
We have already started to plan for this year's vacation, which sounds a bit early but since it is peak season, I want to be prepared. Looking forward to it but trying to enjoy the present as much as possible.
I haven't given any new year's resolution this year. I always end up breaking them anyway. I'll try to be more patient, kinder, more understanding.
Happy new year everyone, may 2014 be a blessed one!


 

Korean BBQ at Sonamu

Last Sunday, I and Mitzie Mee decided to finally get our kimchi- fix. Mitzie Mee has always talked warmly about Sonamu, a Korean restaurant at Asiana hotel, Deira so that was our goal for the evening. Deira is one of the busiest places in Dubai, especially around evening time when lots of commuters are leaving their jobs in Dubai and drive home to Sharjah (the neighbouring emirate). Hence, there is a lot of traffic in the evening and I could see dear Hubby getting more and more nervous as he hates crowds, even if he doesn't have to drive himself. Eventually we arrived to the hotel and met up with Mitziee Mee and her hubby.
Korean meals are always served with banchan, a selection of small dishes of food. Banchan are set in the middle of the table to be shared and is meant to be finished at each meal. What I like with Sonamu is that there was a constant refill of especially kimchi. Korean restaurants in Sweden normally charge extra for a kimchi refill.
We shared a Korean BBQ, bipimbap (the Korean national dish), fried jumbo prawns, pulgogi and pork skewers. The word "Bipimbap" means "mixed rice"and is served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with sautéed and seasoned vegetables and chili pepper paste with a raw or fried egg and sliced meat added. Just before eating, all ingredients are stirred together thoroughly.
Our entire table was filled with various plates and bowls of food. What I like with Korean food is that despite eating a lot of it, you don't feel full in the same way as when you eat Western food. Our very attentive waitor spent most of the evening by our table, barbecuing the meat over the grill (which is placed at the centre of the table) and gently placed the grilled pieces on our plates. Unfortunately they did not have Korean beer but we settled happily for a Japanese "Asahi". To round off the evening, Mitzie Mee and I shared a bottle of soju.
I have been to a few Korean restaurants in Dubai, there are suprisingly many of them here but Sonamu is by far the best restaurant. The service was impeccable and the restaurant has a very nice ambience.


Onion salad

Korean BBQ "A whole cow"

The soju face

Banchan, Korean side dishes